Halifax is giving a bunch of individuals dwelling in tents in a metropolis park 12 days to maneuver, saying a rat infestation is posing well being dangers and there are actually various areas for them to reside.
Municipal officers stated on Tuesday that folks want to go away Meagher Park — situated close to town’s downtown — by July 17, estimating that 5 individuals at present are sheltering on the website.
Max Chauvin, a metropolis official who has labored on the housing challenge since final March, stated throughout a information convention that folks have been “dwelling tough” within the small park for a couple of yr.
“The park is being closed as a result of it’s not protected to be there any longer. So we wish to transition individuals to higher choices,” he stated.
“In case you go to Meagher Park and have a look, the park has been used closely for a yr. It’s primarily stuffed with mud and different issues like that, however there are additionally rats. And never one or two rats, however there’s a important rat inhabitants and it’s not a protected place for any use.”
Chauvin stated options embody non permanent housing town has opened over the previous yr, or — if these models aren’t out there — the park residents can shift to considered one of 4 designated parks the place a complete of 32 individuals with out houses can arrange tents and obtain providers that embody loos.
Final summer season, the same discover led to the arrests of 26 individuals outdoors the previous public library within the metropolis’s downtown, as protesters demonstrated in opposition to contractors dismantling non permanent picket shelters.
Mayor Mike Savage stated Tuesday he’s hopeful that the transition this summer season can be peaceable, as extra choices can be found to individuals with out housing.
“I’m not the mayor of a metropolis that’s going to high-quality individuals for being homeless. Our intent is to seek out houses for people who find themselves homeless,” he stated.
He famous town has created modular models in a number of areas the place individuals with out housing can reside and is collaborating within the federal fast housing initiative.
Requested if police will transfer in to implement the most recent order, Savage replied, “I let you know, no one desires the police to go in lower than the police do …. Our purpose is to discover a peaceable resolution.”
Calista Hills, a volunteer who works with the residents of the park, stated in an interview Tuesday that the order to maneuver was anticipated, however the brief discover nonetheless got here as a shock.
“Primarily individuals are nervous that they gained’t be supplied a viable choice within the subsequent week or so,” she stated. Some are contemplating the websites proposed by town, however she stated there are points with the areas. “Some are close to building websites and railways, and that’s not viable for a very good evening’s sleep, and the websites are additionally additional away from providers they entry every day,” she stated.
The town says it’s closing Meagher Park to new arrivals and guests instantly. “As soon as vacated, Meagher Park can be fenced for reconstruction work over the approaching months to return the park to its authentic state,” town stated.
The Inexpensive Housing Affiliation of Nova Scotia stated that as of June 14, town had 200 shelter beds and 622 unhoused individuals.
This report by The Canadian Press was first printed July 5, 2022.